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07/21/2014 11:17 AM EDT

153 years ago today, July 21, 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War unfolded on the slopes of Henry Hill and Matthews Hill. Both the North and South learned that the war would not be a short affair, settled through one decisive and epic battle.

Manassas National Battlefield Park offers a wide array of activities, scenic vistas, historic sites and walking trails to interest the casual visitor or the true Civil War historian. A good place to begin your visit is the Henry Hill Visitor Center. Pick up a park brochure, map, trail guides and check out the daily schedule of interpretive programs.

Photo: National Park Service